Growers of Fresh Solutions Network Detail Current Potato Market
NEWPORT BEACH, CA - The connection between hand and soil is a precious one, and don’t the farmers of Fresh Solutions Network know it. I recently connected with several different growers that represent the company, who each gave me a read on where they are at in the potato season.
“We are into our later storage potatoes on Russets and will be finishing on Reds and Yellows in the coming weeks,” said Molly Connors, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Basin Gold Cooperative. “Due to the intense heat we had last summer, our yields are considerably off from a year ago. Overall, the quality has been pretty good. With planting, there have been a few challenges; we have had a cold, wet spring, but it is still early with plenty of time for the crop to catch up.”
Molly told me that the grower is going to have tight supplies until the new crop is available, and it is too early to tell what next season’s crop looks like. She relayed that at this point, pricing is better than this time last year. With tight supplies, she expects to see pricing improve throughout the spring and summer.
At NoKota Packers, the company saw a short shipping season that ended on March 18.
“Quality was about the same, which was surprising considering the drought. Volume, however, was down due to the drought,” noted Carissa Olsen, the grower’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “So far, we have gotten a good amount of much-needed moisture. Temperatures have been cooler than usual for spring, but it is still early.”
Carissa continued by stating that supply is tight coming from North Dakota’s Red River Valley, as many sheds were cut short in both Reds and Yellows. Prices, she told me, are up compared to this time last year.
Jill Cox, Vice President of Sales at Sun-Glo of Idaho, also commented on the current season.
“We are currently planting a new crop and are running with last year’s storage crop. We have had some early spring snow flurries that stalled planting for a couple of days, but we need the moisture, so it is ok,” she said. “The market is tight and will get tighter as we get closer to the end of our storages. Prices are up about 30–40 percent over five-year averages. Unfortunately, we are facing input cost increases of over 50 percent.”
Jill also noted that there are possible water shortages in Idaho for the upcoming growing season. There is a possibility of fewer acres of potatoes planted in Idaho this year because of water supply issues; some of the potato acres could potentially be replaced with crops like wheat or barley, which take less water to grow.
Co-Owner of Michael Family Farms Kathy Sponheim stated that the company is seeing good storage quality after a great growing season, as well as high demand for volume.
“The weather is wet and slow to warm up for this planting season,” she told me. “The market is elevated, reflecting a tight supply and high demand for quality potatoes. Increasing variable costs to get the product to market (freight/fuel, labor, packaging) have also pushed the market up since the beginning of the year.”
Sterman Masser Farms is finishing up its 2021 Yellows, Russets, Whites, Reds, and Creamer potatoes.
“We grew the largest, best quality crop we have had last year,” said Dave Masser, President. “Timely rains and a temperate summer drove good yields and helped quality. We’ve taken several promising trial varieties to commercial plantings and that has been a success for us. Our small potato program is now showing exponential growth and success.”
Dave continued by telling me that the market is extremely tight due to the drought and heat in the West last summer. He said that overall pricing is higher due to limited supplies in the major shipping states on top of transportation costs, packing costs, etc.
Hats off to these resilient potato growers as they prepare for a new season!
Companies in this Story
Fresh Solutions Network
Fresh Solutions Network, LLC® is the exclusive supplier of the Side Delights® brand of fresh potatoes and onions. We...